Srimad Bhagavatam 07.11.15-16 - Renunciation Of Brahmanas And Vaisnavas (download mp3)
by HG Murari Gupta Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
vaisyas tu varta-vrttih syan
vrttis ca svamino bhavet
The mercantile community should always follow the directions of the brahmanas and engage in such occupational duties as agriculture, trade, and protection of cows. For the sudras the only duty is to accept a master from a higher social order and engage in his service.
varta vicitra salina-
As an alternative, a brahmana may also take to the vaisya's occupational duty of agriculture, cow protection, or trade. He may depend on that which he has received without begging, he may beg in the paddy field every day, he may collect paddy left in a field by its proprietor, or he may collect food grains left here and there in the shops of grain dealers. These are four means of livelihood that may also be adopted by brahmanas. Among these four, each of them in succession is better than the one preceding it.
A brahmana is sometimes offered land and cows in charity, and thus for his livelihood he may act in the same way as a vaisya, by cultivating land, giving protection to cows and trading off his surpluses. A better process, however, is to pick up grains from a field or from a dealer's shop without begging.